The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry


This groundbreaking volume may well be the poetry anthology for the global village. As selected by J.D. McClatchy, this collection includes masterpieces from four continents and more than two dozen languages in translations by such ...

See more details below
$16.35 price
(Save 9%)$18.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (44) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $10.26   
  • Used (34) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


This groundbreaking volume may well be the poetry anthology for the global village. As selected by J.D. McClatchy, this collection includes masterpieces from four continents and more than two dozen languages in translations by such distinguished poets as Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, Ted Hughes, and Seamus Heaney. Among the countries and writers represented are:

Bangladesh—Taslima Nasrin
Chile—Pablo Neruda
China—Bei Dao, Shu Ting
El Salvador—Claribel Alegria
France—Yves Bonnefoy
Greece—Odysseus Elytis, Yannis Ritsos
India—A.K. Ramanujan
Israel—Yehuda Amichai
Japan—Shuntaro Tanikawa
Mexico—Octavio Paz
Nicaragua—Ernesto Cardenal
Nigeria—Wole Soyinka
Norway—Tomas Transtromer
Palestine—Mahmoud Darwish
Poland—Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz
Russia—Joseph Brodsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Senegal—Leopold Sedar Senghor
South Africa—Breyten Breytenbach
St. Lucia, West Indies—Derek Walcott

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A number of editorial decisions prevent this collection from living up to its name. McClatchy, editor of The Yale Review, has decided to exclude "the extraordinary body of contemporary poetry in English," i.e., the work of poets from Britain, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealandon the grounds that this work is "more readily available." The collection does embrace, however, poems written in English by such poets as Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka, for whom the language is, as McClatchy notes, a "colonial bequest." While this decision may make sense for the U.K. and the U.S., it's hard to think of a New Zealand poet whose work is as readily available as, say, Pablo Neruda's, whose work is admitted. But whatever the book may lack in editorial vision, it does provide a respectable sampling of some of the best-known poets of our day, e.g., Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert, as well as a large number of poets whose work is less familiar, from Denmark's Henrik Nordbrandt to Japan's Ryuichi Tamura. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the collection is the number of poets here whose dissident beliefs and writings have led to imprisonment or exile. Among them are Dennis Brutus in South Africa and Nguyen Chi Thien in Vietnam. They serve as a potent reminder that in some parts of the world poetry and principle remain matters of life and death. (July)
Library Journal
If it is true, as Robert Frost said, that poetry is what is lost in translation, then it is an act of considerable courage to assemble a whole anthology of translated poems. Inevitably, some readers will be surprised and disappointed by some of the editor's choices (no Julia de Burgos? none of Jorge Luis Borges's verse? why so little Milosz?), but the volume is still a broad and generous digest of recent poetry, good and even great. Some of the poets represented will be familiar; others are still too little known here and should be welcome discoveries to many readersRutger Kopland of the Netherlands, Germany's Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Israel's Dan Pagis, Argentina's Roberto Juarroz. Many of the translators are themselves poets (Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, and Seamus Heaney among them), and they do much to alleviate the frustrations of translation. Highly recommended.Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679741152
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 654
  • Sales rank: 674,675
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)